“I will not throw chalk at Nathan Pickler’s head. I will not throw chalk at Nathan Pickler’s head. I will not throw chalk at Nathan Pickler’s head.” And so on and so on.
After cutting up and looking for ways to continually push the envelope, you’d think that I would have learned my lesson by now: don’t get caught throwing chalk at the back of Nathan Pickler’s head. But I did, so there I was standing at a blackboard in a nearly deserted classroom two hours after all my friends had gone home. At Notre Dame High School, they called it detention. At other penal institutions, it’s known as incarceration, detainment or being sent up the river.
I found myself attending Notre Dame by once again blindly following in my brother’s footsteps. It wasn’t the first time. Nor would it be the last. As a misguided 9th grader, there was something alluring about attending a private, all-boy Catholic high school run by the Brothers of the Holy Cross – sort of like getting accepted for SEAL training when you’re 14 years old. Compared to other schools, Notre Dame was not only harder to get into, it was more difficult to stay out of trouble once you got there. But the Brothers did the best they could by introducing us to a life of spirituality, human compassion and frequent doses of corporal punishment.